The Agric Ministry has concluded a special tour to the various border districts in the country as part of preparations for the release and distribution of farm inputs under the Planting for Food and Jobs programme in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Ministry is to initiate retail haulage and distribution of government’s subsidised fertilizers and other inputs to beneficiary farmers across the country in spite of constant reports of misappropriation and alleged smuggling of fertilizers to neighbouring countries.

Government last year blacklisted nine districts in four northern regions – including the Chereponi district from the programme in a bid to curb the illegal practices.

The smugglers mostly Agric workers, politicians and certified individual suppliers in the districts were found to have exploited the proximity and the porous nature of the borders to carry out the illegal activities.

Head of Special duties at the Audit unit, Nana Baffour Safo Kofi II, who has been leading the delegation, ended the tour over the weekend after visiting the two border districts – Chereponi and Bunkpurugu – in the North east region.

Speaking to JoyNews, Nana Baffour explained that the visit to the border districts was to have firsthand information on measures put in place by authorities to curb activities of smuggling before the inputs are released.

He expressed satisfaction and commended the North East Regional Security Council for putting in place additional measures at the various border posts and checkpoints in the area.

He also promised to ensure equitable distribution of the inputs this year and warned that the law with deal with those who might be planning to take advantage of the coronavirus outbreak to smuggle the inputs to neighboring countries.